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And that Bethel signifies the knowledges of celestial things, may be seen from other passages in the Word where Bethel is named; as in the next chapter, where it is said that Abram went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent was in the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, unto the place of the altar which he made there (Gen. 13:3, 4) where on his journeys from the south to Bethel, signifies progression into the light of knowledges, on which account it is not here said that Bethel was on the west and Ai on the east. When Jacob saw the ladder, he said:

This is none other but the House of God, and this is the gate of heaven; and he called the name of that place Bethel (Gen. 28:17, 19);

where the knowledge of celestial things is in like manner signified by Bethel; for man is a Bethel, that is a House of God, and also a gate of heaven, when he is in the celestial things of knowledges. When a man is being regenerated, he is introduced by means of the knowledges of spiritual and celestial things; but when he has been regenerated, he has then been introduced, and is in the celestial and spiritual things of the knowledges. Afterwards:--

God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; make there an altar to God who appeared unto thee (Gen. 35:1, 6, 7);

where in like manner Bethel signifies knowledges.

[3] That the ark of Jehovah was in Bethel, and that the sons of Israel came thither and inquired of Jehovah (Judges 20:18, 26, 27; 1 Sam. 7:16; 10:3) signify similar things; also that the king of Assyria sent one of the priests whom he had brought from Samaria, and he dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear Jehovah (2 Kings 17:27, 28). In Amos:--

Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and there shalt thou prophesy but prophesy not again any more at Bethel, for this is the king's sanctuary, and this is the house of the kingdom (Amos 7:12, 13).

[4] After Jeroboam had profaned Bethel (1 Kings 12:32; 13:1-8; 2 Kings 23:15) it had an opposite representation (Hosea 10:15; Amos 3:14, 15; 4:5-7). But that Ai signifies the knowledges of worldly things, may also be confirmed from the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word (Josh. 7:2; 8:1-28; Jer. 49:3, 4).

from AC 1453

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info